Friday, 8 October 2010

To Aru Majutsu no Index II - Episode 1

Although I never 'blogged about the first season of To Aru Majutsu no Index, I did rather enjoy watching it, even if spin-off series To Aru Kagaku no Railgun worked better for me overall... although being a huge Mikoto Misaka fanboy helps on that count, obviously.  Anyhow, although I'd choose the latter show over the former any day, I was still pleased to see Index return for a second season, and judging by this opening episode my reaction to the announcement was well and truly justified.

To Aru Majutsu no Index II kicks off pretty much straight after the goings-on of the first season, leaving Touma struggling to complete his summer homework in light of everything that went on previously, while walking library Index isn't really making life any easier for him with her incessant demands for food.  Still, such trifles seem like small fries compared to the nifty bow/glove-wielding magician who turns up in Touma's life within minutes of the episode beginning, wreaking havoc upon a family restaurant and kidnapping Index in the resulting confusion.

Japan has maid cafes and cat cafes... so why no homework cafes?
After searching the streets for his companion (and ending up caught in a chance meeting with Misaka), the kidnapped and bound Index finally manages to make use of her mobile phone to call Touma while their opponent monologues away about what he's doing and why, giving him the time and hints required to appear and save the day with the Imagine Breaker that is his right hand.  Of course, it transpires that the episode's bad guy is more misguided than evil, and so all's well that ends well before an ending that starts the ball rolling for some far bigger storylines to come.

Without getting too carried away (this is only the first instalment after all), I have to say that this was a top notch episode that easily rivalled anything that the first season of this show had to offer - while that season was often criticised (and rightly slow) for its occasionally glacial pacing, this one-shot story zipped along at a perfect pace, giving us time to take everything in but without forgetting to keep the action and sense of tension moving along throughout.  Does this mean that lessons have been learned from the first season of To Aru Majutsu no Index? It's too early to say, but let's hope so.  Still, when you combine what we saw here with the show's super-slick animation and top notch soundtrack (which largely carries over from the first series), it looks as though we could be on to a winner.

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